Song app from Down Under wows SXSW crowd
By Robert MacPherson ,APAUSTIN, Texas -- Two brothers from Australia pulled big crowds at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival with a novel app that lets anyone create a song just by crooning into a smartphone.
March 16, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Jam, released eight weeks ago for Apple's iPhone, was developed by Joe and Sam Russell, members of a musical family from Melbourne who took the concept behind social-media photography and reinvented it for music.
“Basically, you sing into your phone and it creates a song around what you've sung,” said Joe Russell as young music fans streamed into Jam's booth in the SXSW trade show hall Thursday to spend a minute each trying out the app.
“You don't need to play an instrument or even sing all that well,” he told AFP. “You just have to sing into your phone and pick a (musical) style and it will created a song in that style, an original song.”
But there's more: users can upload their recordings onto Jam — just as Instagram or Hipstamatic photographers can do with their photos — for any and all to see, and the most popular tunes can wind up on Jam's own hit parade.
More than 260,000 users, mostly in the United States, have so far downloaded Jam from the iTunes store, the Russells said, adding that work is underway on Japanese and Chinese versions for the promising Asian market.
“It's meant for people who don't necessarily create music in their day-to-day lives,” said Joe Russell, 33, general manager of DreamWalk Interactive, a startup founded by the tech-minded siblings.
“It enables them to create music when they wouldn't have otherwise. It's cheating” — in the sense that users never need to learn an instrument or really know how to sing — “but every one can make music now. That's the good thing.”
Jam is representative of the way technology is driving the future of music, undermining the traditional business model whereby musicians had to struggle to get the attention of taste-making record labels to build their careers.